Biography of Father Iosif Dzemian

Born into a peasant family in 1888 in Krasno-Staroye, Belostok district, Grodno province. Graduated from St. Petersburg Seminary and was ordained in 1912. From 1913 he served as vicar at the parish in Orsha and Polatsk; from 1918, in Sokolishche, Polatsk district. In 1922 he was arrested along with other priests for “resisting the exposure of the relics of [Saint] Andrey Bobola.” Sentenced to one year loss of liberty; spent four months in Vitebsk Prison, then released under an amnesty. From 1922 he served at a parish outside Mogiliev; from 1925 he was administrator of a parish in the villages of Senno and Chereia, Sennsk deanery, and he was dean of that deanery. From 1926 he served in Minsk. During his work in Minsk he was secretary to the Apostolic Administrator, Bishop Bolesƚaw Sloskan. From 1927 he was repeatedly subjected to arrests but soon released. In 1928 he was arrested on charges of having “violated the Labor Code” and sentenced to two years’ exile; sent to Smolensk; released from Smolensk in the autumn of 1929. He served at St. Catherine’s and St. Casimir’s in Leningrad, where he was arrested June 17, 1930. December 2, 1931 – sentenced under Articles 58-6 and 58-10 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to ten years in prison [OGPU Collegium]. Sent to the solitary confinement block at Yaroslavl Prison, then transferred to Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp on March 7, 1932. In September 1937 he was transferred to the prison block, October 9, 1937 – sentenced to death [Special Troika, Directorate, NKVD, Leningrad oblast]. November 3, 1937 – shot, in Sandormokh, outside Medvezhigorsk. Sources: GARF, f. 8406, op. 2, d. 1477 and 5647, l. 5, 31, 35, 45, 52; Memorial’noe Kladbishche Sandormokh, p. 98; Osipova (1996), p. 165; Protocols of the Sessions of a Special Troika of the Directorate, NKVD, Leningrad oblast; Reznikova, P. 21; Shkarovskii, p. 223; Dzwonkowski, pp. 220-221; Madała, p. 50
Variant Names:
Dzemian, Iosif; Dzemian, Iosif Kazimirovich
Hrodna (Belarus); Saint Petersburg (Russia); Orsha (Belarus); Polatsk (Belarus); Vitsebsk (Belarus); Mahili︠o︡ŭ (Belarus); Si︠a︡nno (Vitsebskai︠a︡ voblastsʹ, Belarus); Minsk (Belarus); Smolenskai︠a︡ oblastʹ (Russia); Saint Petersburg (Russia); I︠A︡roslavlʹ (I︠A︡roslavskai︠a︡ oblastʹ, Russia); Solovet︠s︡kiĭ (Russia); Medvezhegorsk (Russia)
male; clergy and religious; executed